Sign Language video clips make golf accessible for deaf children

BSL for golf

Video clips to help golf coaches and leaders learn basic, sports-related British Sign Language (BSL) to support children with hearing loss have been launched.

The clips have been created by the England Golf Partnership (EGP), which works to grow the game, and the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). They feature key sport words and phrases that have been signed in BSL and are designed to help coaches communicate with deaf children during training sessions.

They can be found at www.ndcs.org.uk/BSLforSport together with BSL clips for other popular sporting activities, such as football, swimming, cricket, athletics, tennis and netball, as well as general sport.

The clips aim to show how coaches can address some of the communication challenges that many deaf golfers face, for instance, not knowing which club they should be using for a practice exercise.

The clips have been welcomed by 17-year-old Paul Waring of the English Deaf Golf Association, who plays off scratch at Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club in Suffolk and is the English and European Deaf Golf Champion for 2013.

He said: “These clips are great, I will be sending a link to my golf coach so he can see these video clips.

“My coach is trying to learn some BSL and this will certainly help him to help me. Whether the PGA professional is teaching a beginner, or an advanced player, these signs/words are used all the time so they will be a great help.”

Jamie Blair, Disability Officer for England Golf, commented: “We are really pleased that these BSL clips have come together to help the England Golf Partnership to support PGA professionals and volunteers to engage and encourage deaf children in golf.

“This is a great way to make our sport more deaf friendly and to welcome more deaf and hearing impaired children into a positive and enjoyable golf experience.”

The England Golf Partnership brings together the amateur governing body, England Golf, and the Professional Golfers’ Association, to develop the game with the support of the Golf Foundation and with Sport England National Lottery funding. Its national network of County Golf Partnerships and its Get into golf campaign encourage more people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, to take up the sport and to play more often.

Hayley Jarvis, Head of Inclusive Activities at NDCS, said: “It’s fantastic that the UK’s leading sport organisations have supported our ongoing work to break down barriers in sport for children with hearing loss. Involving deaf children in sport is brilliant for their confidence and self-esteem.

“Deafness is not a barrier to taking part in sport. By following simple steps like learning basic BSL signs, leaders and coaches can create a welcoming, deaf-friendly atmosphere in their club. We urge all sport clubs to have a go at learning the signs and create equal opportunities for deaf children to enjoy sport.”

There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. With the right support in place, deaf children can thrive and achieve as well as other children. However, without the right support, deaf children are vulnerable to social isolation, low self-esteem and underachievement in school.

NDCS runs the Me2 Deaf-Friendly Project, a project aimed at supporting sport and leisure organisations to include deaf children in their activities, delivering training and offering resources on deaf awareness.

To find out more about becoming a deaf-friendly sports club or to access activities in your area, visit www.ndcs.org.uk/me2 or call the NDCS Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880.

For more information about the English Deaf Golf Association visit www.englishdeafgolfassociation.com